This article is part of our KBO Power Rankings series.
A clear hierarchy has emerged through five weeks of the KBO season. The first-place Dinos lead the league in both runs scored and runs allowed, and the last-place Eagles sit in the basement in both categories. There is plenty of time for things to change, but there appears to be a pretty clear split between the top five teams and the bottom five, which lines up exactly with the split between playoff teams and non-playoff teams. As a reminder, these power rankings are not a list of how likely it is each team will win the Korean Series, but rather how likely or unlikely I would be to start a given player against each team in fantasy contests.
1. NC Dinos
Last Week: 1
Run Differential: +95
The Lowdown: The Dinos cruised through the week, winning five straight against the bottom two teams in the standings by an average score of 10.6 runs to 2.4. The upcoming week should provide a much tougher test, as they'll face the Bears and Heroes, but it's not clear that any team can slow down the Dinos right now.
DFS Name to Know: Chang Mo Koo, a 23-year-old lefty, has been the best pitcher in the league this season, allowing a total of three runs through his first six starts (0.66 ERA) while striking out 29.7 percent of opposing batters.
2. Doosan Bears
Last Week: 3
Run Differential: +1
The Lowdown: The Bears' overall run differential doesn't back up their second-place ranking, but they've been playing close to the level you would expect from a team that has made five straight Korean Series. Their sweep of the Tigers over the weekend was particularly encouraging due to the fact that their struggling pitching staff allowed just six runs over three games.
DFS Name to Know: Jae Il Oh has returned from a side injury to give the Bears another excellent bat in the middle of their loaded lineup. He is hitting .352/.412/.557 on the season.
3. Kiwoom Heroes
Last Week: 4
Run Differential: +29
The Lowdown: The Heroes nearly had a perfect week before falling to the Twins in their series finale Sunday. The fact that this well-balanced team ranks so highly despite having only one active foreign player – thanks to Taylor Motter's release and Jake Brigham's elbow injury – speaks to their potential down the stretch.
DFS Name to Know: Dong Won Park has been the best offensive catcher in the league this season, and one of the best hitters at any position, hitting .351 with seven homers.
4. LG Twins
Last Week: 2
Run Differential: +41
The Lowdown: The Twins fall two spots this week after losing series to both the Lions and Heroes, but the gap between them and the second-place Bears is quite small. They could shoot back up the rankings over the next couple weeks, as their next three series come against three bottom-half teams in the Wyverns, Giants and Eagles.
DFS Name to Know: Roberto Ramos hasn't slowed down, hitting two more homers last week to give him a league-leading 12. He also owns a stellar .373 batting average.
5. Kia Tigers
Last Week: 5
Run Differential: +6
The Lowdown: The Tigers appear to be in a tier of their own, a step below the four legitimate contenders but a step above the bottom-half teams in the battle for a Wild Card spot. They demonstrated that pretty clearly over the last week, sweeping the Giants before being swept themselves by the Bears.
DFS Name to Know: Drew Gagnon could be even better than his 3.48 ERA suggests going forward, as he has struck out 29.0 percent of opposing batters while walking just 5.1 percent.
6. SK Wyverns
Last Week: 6
Run Differential: -39
The Lowdown: Despite their record, I still view the Wyverns as the bottom-half team most likely to make a push for a playoff spot. They have been trending upwards recently, winning seven of their last 10. They could prove their legitimacy this week if they can achieve a winning record against the Twins and Tigers.
DFS Name to Know: Like the rest of his team, Jamie Romak has woken up after a slow start, hitting a pair of homers while posting a 1.517 OPS over the last week.
7. Samsung Lions
Last Week: 8
Run Differential: -13
The Lowdown: The Lions have shown they can beat anyone, winning series against the Dinos and Twins, but they followed that up by losing two of three to the Wyverns. They've been solidly mediocre on both sides of the ball, ranking sixth in runs scored and sixth in runs allowed.
DFS Name to Know: Tyler Saladino posted a woeful .499 OPS over his first 17 games in the KBO, but his bat has since woken up, as he's cruised to a 1.343 OPS over his last 11 contests.
8. Lotte Giants
Last Week: 9
Run Differential: -29
The Lowdown: The Giants move up a spot after sweeping the Wiz, and they could well get back over .500 this week as they head into a series against the Eagles. They still look rather unintimidating, though. They're just half a game out of a playoff spot but sit eighth in run differential.
DFS Name to Know: Dan Straily has been good all season but absolutely dominant over his last three starts, allowing one run over 18.1 innings to lower his ERA on the season to 2.23.
9. KT Wiz
Last Week: 7
Run Differential: -1
The Lowdown: The fantasy-focused nature of these rankings tempted me to keep the Wiz higher on the list, as they'll certainly be a much better team once Baek Ho Kang returns. However, they can't justifiably move above the Giants, who swept them over the weekend. Ninth could well be the Wiz's deserved spot even with Kang back, as one of the few bright spots in their struggling pitching staff, Odrisamer Despaigne, was lit up for 14 runs over 10 innings last week.
DFS Name to Know: Kang is one of the best hitters in the KBO despite being just 20 years old. He had a 1.137 OPS in 14 games prior to his injury and finished with a .916 OPS last year.
11. Hanwha Eagles
Last Week: 10
Run Differential: -90
The Lowdown: There's no clearer way to express just how poor the Eagles have been this season than to rank them 11th out of 10, as they've lost 14 games in a row and have been outscored by an average of three runs per game this season. They didn't even come within three runs in any of their six losses last week and lost by an average of 9.7 runs in their three-game series against the Dinos. Perhaps the managerial change they experienced over the weekend will provide a spark.
DFS Name to Know: None. I don't believe I used a single Eagle in any contest last week and I don't expect to this week either, as they don't have a single regular with an above-average OPS and their best starting pitcher, Warwick Saupold, owns a very unimpressive 11.6 percent strikeout rate.